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Explore the Shore: New Buffalo, MI

Submitted by Beth Rudnick

Just 10 miles east of Michigan City is beautiful New Buffalo, Michigan.  A lakefront town with shopping, microbreweries, and antiques – and a beautiful casino – New Buffalo offers so much to do both on and off the dunes.

The main street of this small town is Whitaker, which intersects with Hwy 12.  Heading north on Whitaker from 12 takes you to Designer CottageScapes boutique, an eclectic-style store with artisan items for the house as well as doggie- and kitty-lover décor, ornaments, stained glass, and more. A few doors down is The Hidden Gem, which lives up to its name! Hand-made beach art, beach glass jewelry, wind chimes decorate this unique lake-lover’s collection. And if the beach is in your plans, stop at Third Coast Surf Shop for boards, bathing suits, and beach towels.  

Getting hungry? Continue north to Stray Dog grill, a hugely popular place with the locals that sports sunny rooftop seating and vegetarian/vegan options, or try Casey’s for a beer and a bite in a historic building with more traditional meal options. New Buffalo Beach Club is newly opened and right on the beach. They offer beach chair rentals, umbrellas, toys and food!

New Buffalo has a beautiful lakefront, but parking is limited and not free. The best idea is to grab a spot at the free parking on the southeast side of 12 and Whitaker and make the approximately ½ mile walk to the beach, enjoying an ice cream and the shops along the way. The easy walk provides refreshing views of the harbor.    

Before heading home, hop back in the car and check out the nips and nummies at Ghost Isle Brewing, on Hwy 12 heading east from New Buffalo, with its traditional as well as hauntingly delish vegan fare; and don’t miss Galien River County Park with its stunning overlook. The park is just a little way east of Ghost Isle on 12. Finally, Four Winds Casino is a nice stop for its authentic Native décor, dining, and a gift shop with Native arts. Four Winds can be accessed taking Whitaker south out of town to Wilson Road. Or from your parking spot in town, take a walk south on Whitaker to Church Brewing and break bread with the brewery’s “congregation” of specialty beers.  

Though New Buffalo is small, there’s so much to dig about this duneland town.

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